Where to start?

Shane071489

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
13
This may have been asked numerous times, but I have not found it. I am an East Coast hunter that would like to go on a mule deer hunt. I do not know where to begin, I see multiple posts talking about OTC tags, draw tags, land owner tags, and many others ways to hunt mule deer. If there is a post that answers this please post the link and I can read there. What state do I state do I start looking in? I personally have no preference, I see a lot of stuff about Wyoming and Montana. Would these be a good place to start? I assume I will have to have points to draw a hunt location? I would like to possibly do a guided one first as I have no experience in this. Any outfitters you would recommend? I would like to possibly plan a trip next year, is there a better way to do this? I know everyone starts somewhere so I am looking for a starting point to build off of but I am currently overwhelmed by the multiple options and multiple states. I am looking to do a rifle only hunt. Thanks in advance for helping me with this.
 

cnewso2

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Louisiana
I am in the same boat as you. I am from Louisiana and will be making my first trip to hunt mule deer out west this year. We archery hunt only so I was looking at South Dakota OTC, but they recently moved their season start date back to Oct. 1 for non resident hunters on public land. We are going to Idaho this year with an OTC tag.

Are you wanting to hunt with a firearm or archery equipment? GoHunt would be a great place to start as I have been scouring it along with this site for the past year to try and soak up as much information as possible. Good luck and if you have any other questions, feel free to PM me and I'll try to help in any way I can.

-Cody
 

KHNC

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,216
Location
NC
You will need to draw a tag in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado for deer. In fact, most all states are draw for muleys these days. Still a few out there with OTC, usually much more crowded though. Give Conner Phillips and call. He guides in the Grand Mesa National Forest of Colorado, in addition to some private area. He was one some nice bucks last rifle season that were not killed.
602 214 8918
 

tugrivercopper

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
887
Location
Monterey VA
Go ahead and go to Wyoming's website and start buying points now if your serious about this. Nebraska has OTC tags if your serious about going THIS year. However many on this forum will tell you the quality of the hunt is night and day between the two for example.

My advice from a fellow easterner who done his first hunt last year, Try signing up for gohunt or hunting fool and find units with some pretty good draw odds (think 80-90% etc.) for a decent hunt next year. Meanwhile read and study as much on this forum as you can to learn about various states and their draw odds and the quality of hunts, trophies etc. Go to the various states websites and look at their hunting atlas's, and many of them have the draw odds right on their website for the various units or areas and if available buy points for that state if u can get them.
 

street

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
123
Location
Colorado
In my opinion you should pick the state first. Then from there you can study the draw system for that state and determine what you can get. All the states have different systems but you can also check out toprut.com and other sites like it to get a feel for 0 point tags you can get.
 

street

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
123
Location
Colorado
I don't think there's really a shortcut to it unless you can do some kind of fully guided hunt from start to finish. You need to study how it all works.
 

justin84

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
20
I don’t even know where to start about where to start :LOL:

I was fortunate enough to have some friends that hunted Wyoming before I did so at least where to hunt was picked for me. But you could look at so many different things and try to come up with some preferences like which state, which weapon, which type of landscape (alpine, plains, desert, etc).

Wyoming still has some 100% draw units but they can be tough to access or just flat out tough hunts. Not sure about other states.

I guess the best advice I can give is spend some time on state fish and game sites and read regulations, look at draw results, and try to narrow it down somehow. Most states I’ve seen have pretty well organized info online, it’s just a lot to digest at first but eventually it starts to make sense.
 

njdoxie

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
463
Location
New Jersey
Would really be nice to get on the phone with someone from rokslide, get all your questions answered pronto, would give you a good foundation on which to base future research.
Hopefully someone will pm you.

I’ve said many times, I’m glad I started long ago and eased into it, had veterans shepherd me along. I would hate to be starting cold.
 
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Shane071489

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
13
Thank yall for all the help. I do believe picking a state first will be the best. I will attempt to research more stuff in Wyoming and Montana. This will be fun to figure out and where to start. I attempting to do my first mule deer hunt with an outfitter on private land. This makes this process a little easier and more clear. I have never been mule deer hunting so having someone show me the ropes will be very beneficial I think. Expensive, but beneficial.
 

Turkeygetpwnd38

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
247
Location
Florida
I would make a Montana and Wyoming online account. Both are open now to purchase points only. Purchase the Montana general PREFERENCE point (will be under different tab than bonus points), it will be $50 and some change for the online fees. This will allow you to draw a general deer license next year and have most of the state open to you for chasing mule deer in a very long/generous season. It is also nice the rifle season coincides with the rut.
Wyoming you can purchase a deer preference point for $41 and either continue getting one a year to hunt a better unit, or find a unit that’s 0-1 point draw for next year.
Idaho has the best opportunity for OTC mule deer if looking to rifle hunt, and their draw every year is lottery, no points, so everyone has equal chance. If you are an archer, Arizona has some good OTC deer hunts available.
CO, NV, NM all have landowner tags you can purchase. They can vary in price, some being insane, some reasonable. Some come with access to private land, some unit wide, they are all a bit different.
Your idea of going guided is probably the best idea if just starting out. You get to hunt while learning all the systems and building points and also learn how to mule deer hunt from the guides. Take in everything, ask questions, get the most out of your money. There are a lot of guides in Eastern CO that will sell guided hunts that come packaged with landowner vouchers. Using a hunt service like hunt nation or something might not be a bad idea, or cruise the forums for a reputable guide. There are some great ones out there, but also some terrible ones!
This is all pretty general info, feel free to pm me any other questions, I was in your shoes 3-4 years ago and had to figure it all out myself, maybe I can help cut some time off your learning curve.
 

mickeyelk

Junior Member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
12
I had the same dilema as you have when I first moved out west. I don't know your buget but allot of the states are fairly expensive to hunt and apply for. I moved here in 1994 and found this small magazine that I noticed in the mail at another persons house when I was visiting and it was called Huntin Fool. Now they are a large business and a little less useful for me. But for your situation it may help. Theres other one out here, just search and see what you think about them. You really want to see an issue from earlier in the year when everyone is applying for tags. Very useful data for first timers. The hunts that I found the easiest to get for deer are out of Colorado. But never being there its hard to hunt them without stepping foot in them. The areas out here are quite large in size. You'll have to do allot of research if drawn on where to go. Most states offer bonus points which allow you to have additional chances when your trying to draw a tag. Out here its like the lottery to get a tag. If you have the money, I would recommend a guided hunt for your first experience. It would get you out west and see what to expect in your future endevers. I would step up to an archery elk hunt, guided, in Colorado and most of them are 3-4000 in cost. There is also places in Colorado that after you have the tag you can look for fees to access the private lands. (Rocky Mountain Ransches) is one of them. I have never hunted with them and have no knowledge of there operation, but I keep getting flyers in the mail every year from them. Search it on the web. If your want to start getting points for future draws, Wyoming will soon be coming up with there point applications here shortly and you can piurchase them at that time. Remember, out west hunts are costly but very doable. good luck and if you want to talk let me know.
 
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Shane071489

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
13
I would make a Montana and Wyoming online account. Both are open now to purchase points only. Purchase the Montana general PREFERENCE point (will be under different tab than bonus points), it will be $50 and some change for the online fees. This will allow you to draw a general deer license next year and have most of the state open to you for chasing mule deer in a very long/generous season. It is also nice the rifle season coincides with the rut.
Wyoming you can purchase a deer preference point for $41 and either continue getting one a year to hunt a better unit, or find a unit that’s 0-1 point draw for next year.
Idaho has the best opportunity for OTC mule deer if looking to rifle hunt, and their draw every year is lottery, no points, so everyone has equal chance. If you are an archer, Arizona has some good OTC deer hunts available.
CO, NV, NM all have landowner tags you can purchase. They can vary in price, some being insane, some reasonable. Some come with access to private land, some unit wide, they are all a bit different.
Your idea of going guided is probably the best idea if just starting out. You get to hunt while learning all the systems and building points and also learn how to mule deer hunt from the guides. Take in everything, ask questions, get the most out of your money. There are a lot of guides in Eastern CO that will sell guided hunts that come packaged with landowner vouchers. Using a hunt service like hunt nation or something might not be a bad idea, or cruise the forums for a reputable guide. There are some great ones out there, but also some terrible ones!
This is all pretty general info, feel free to pm me any other questions, I was in your shoes 3-4 years ago and had to figure it all out myself, maybe I can help cut some time off your learning curve.
This has been a really helpful post and put stuff I knew into context. I will message you soon for sure I have a few more questions.
 
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